Tuesday, April 10, 2012

American Reunion

In 1999, I was a sophomore in high school. That’s the year American Pie hit the big screen and became an instant hit, grossing $235,483,004 worldwide. The sexual angst in characters Jim, Oz, Kevin, Finch and Stifler resonated with my generation, and it wasn’t too hard to liken them to real-life friends. It was one of the top party/high-school movies of my day, which was why I was so excited for American Reunion.

Now it’s not like it’s been 13 years since audiences got to catch up with the American Pie gang. In 2002 there was a sequel, AmericanPie 2, and a part three the following year in American Wedding. Both were decent sequels that helped drive the franchise, but it has since settled in the nine years between then and now. Sure, there were a few straight-to-DVD “American Pie” movies, but those were obviously made to squeeze a few more bucks out of the primary films’ success. They were easily forgettable, and as a fan of the core series, that’s exactly what I’ve chosen to do.

American Reunion, which I consider to be the fourth film in the series, is the first time the original cast has returned. You see, the two sequels had most of the cast, at least enough to make a successful movie, but not everyone returned. For example, in the third installment Chris Klein, who plays Oz, was absent. The fact that everyone was returning was very exciting and I couldn’t wait to reconnect with all the characters I remembered from high school.

That being said, nostalgia was the real appeal of this film. In American Reunion, the characters return to East Great Falls, Michigan for their 13-year high school reunion. As someone who just attended their 10-year high school get-together, I could definitely relate. As I said before, these were the characters I had grown up with in high school, and with this film it was almost as if they grew up alongside me.

This feeling was brought home by the character’s various realities. For example, Jim and Michelle (played by Jason Biggs and Alyson Hannigan) are now grown up with a child, doing their best to build a future while maintaining their marriage. I have a lot of friends in that position. Stifler, played by Seann William Scott, is still a womanizing bumbling idiot doing his best to make it in the workforce. I have a lot of friends in that position too. The same can be said for each and every character in this film, which made it very easy to make an emotional connection.

Don’t get me wrong, there were other things that I loved about this film. The sexual angst and unpredictable scenarios that made the first so popular, like making love to a pie, were present in this film. For instance, what would you do if the girl you used to baby sit turned 18 and threw herself at you? Jim gets to experience this, and given that he has a wife and kid, you can expect some comical antics.

Likewise, Eugene Levy comprised his role as Jim’s dad, and he was hilarious as ever. “The name’s Noah, mother f***er,” was very memorable. Throw in funny bit roles by John Cho as MILF Guy #3, ShannonElizabeth as Nadia (no bare chest this film L) and Chris Owen as the Shermanator, and the laughs kept coming.

I was also surprised to Katrina Bowden in the film as Mia, Oz’s girlfriend. It wasn’t a major role, but I’ve had the hots for her ever since seeing her in 30 Rock as Cerie. As always, she was absolutely stunning and it’s nice to see her expanding her portfolio. I expect we’ll see a lot more of her in the years to come.

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention the soundtrack. I heard songs that really brought me back to my high-school days and it was great. Truth be told, it was the icing on the cake as far as the nostalgic factor is concerned.

My history and connection with the franchise is obviously the big reason I enjoyed this movie, but I think anyone who has seen the American Pie movies will enjoy American Reunion; in fact, I’d say it’s a must see. If you’ve never seen any of the films in the franchise, you might not catch all the subtleties that make it so good, but I think you’ll find enough laughs to make it worth you while.

I know I had a great movie experience.

Buddies Forever Movie Club Rating: 85%

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1 comment:

  1. I liked this one a lot more than the other sequels but I will admit that it still could have been a lot better. It was great to have these characters all back together again though and I think that’s where the film really worked for me. Total nostalgia. Good review Chad.